20:18

It’s a new year, and while most people are stuck on redeveloping their ideal resolutions for the year and devoting themselves to the cliché “New Year. New Me” sentiments, many others are still living on the high of the release of Jay-Z’s video for “Family Feud” that capped off the year. In my personal opinion, he had one of the top 5 albums of 2017 (let’s argue! lol) …and with that being said, I’m going to channel Mr. Carter in my effort to encourage you to live your best life in 2018.

 

“Mama had four kids, but she’s a lesbian

Had to pretend so long that she’s a thespian

Had to hide in the closet, so she medicate

Society shame and the pain was too much to take

Cried tears of joy when you fell in love

Don’t matter to me if it’s a him or her”

-       “Smile” by Jay-Z, 4:44 Album

Although last year started off with Gospel-great Kim Burrell deeming us to hell and slapping us with all sorts of judgement and shade, it was more visual than ever that throughout 2017 we were no longer worried about falling victim to the pain of society’s shame and hate as we shined bright through your TV screens (Will & Grace returned, Doc McStuffins introduced a two-mom family, and Disney’s Andi Mack introduced a gay storyline), your movie screens (Moonlight beat out La La Land for Best Picture Oscar, the live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast included a gay character, and Power Rangers introduced Hollywood’s first LGBTQ+ superhero), in fashion and beauty (Maybelline named Manny MUA as their first male brand ambassador, Edward Robina Enninful became the first African American and gay Editor-in-Chief of British Vogue, and Laverne Cox collaborated with Beyoncé for the Ivy Park’s Strong Beyond Measure campaign), in music (iLOVEMAKONNEN came out as gay, Taylor Bennet (Chance the Rapper’s brother) came out as bisexual, and Aaron Carter came out as bisexual), in literature (HarperCollins Publishers released “Santa’s Husband”), in magazines (Ines Rau became the first openly transgender playmate), in education (the iconic Spelman College began to allow transgender students to apply for the 2018-19 school year), in government (Jess Herbst (Mayor) became Texas’s first openly transgender official and two transgender women were elected to public office -Danica Roem and Andrea Jenkins), and so much more.  

More than ever before, it appears as last year’s mood set the bar at an all-time high dosage of “Who gives a fu&%?!” It doesn’t matter who you love as long as you love - yourself. The world can hate your very existence, but self-love can make you fearless and untouchable. Self-love prevents you from looking for gratification and acceptance from other people. Most importantly, self-love is having the ability to understand that God blessed you in spite of…in spite of what others say or what blessings they feel you don’t deserve because of a personal choice that has not an ounce of effect on their lives. To be frank, the choices we make only bother other people because they’re too busy minding our business and trying to project that future of lives that they didn’t manifest. So, continue to sashay on and sprinkle fairy dust on everything you touch, boo! 

 

I just wanna see you smile through all the hate

Marie Antionette, baby, let ‘em eat cake”

-       “Smile” by Jay-Z, 4:44 Album

It is officially 2018 and we have arrived to continue with the slay and make even bigger boss moves that shake even more tables and smash through even more stereotypically placed limits. Rumor has it that Queen Marie-Antionette, the Queen of France during the French Revolution, stated, “Qu'ils mangent de la brioche”, or “let them eat brioche,” when informed that her starving peasants no longer had any bread to eat. Although it was never actually confirmed that Marie-Antionette said those words, it doesn’t change the fact that brioche is a very expensive cake much more expensive than bread and, if she did indeed state those words, it implies that the Queen was completely oblivious of to the living standards held by the ordinary people she governed. Yet, with the same lack of mindful attention and consciousness is how I urge you to let those around you to eat cake. 

Whenever your “friends” begin to distance themselves, your family members want to turn their back on you, you lose that promotion to your heterosexual colleague despite being more qualified, you’re condemned to hell by an over sanctified church member that negates their own sins and skeletons to highlight yours, you’ve been talked about, labeled, and constantly told no because of your sexuality and desire to never limit who you are, I want you to do me one favor ... stand your ground, smile and with pride utter the following words, “Bon appétit.”